In a speech in her home borough of Staten Island, Republican mayoral nominee Nicole Malliotakis bashed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, challenged him to five debates across the five boroughs, and touted several of her policy positions, including a mental health proposal that she says would combat rampant homelessness.
In addition to the homelessness crisis, which remains a liability for de Blasio, Malliotakis pointed to the rising costs of renting or buying a home in the city or running a business, a deepening transit crisis and the large proportion of students in the city’s public schools who do not pass state exams.
“Right now I believe we have a mayor who has an ‘I don’t are attitude’ about doing his job,” Malliotakis said at City & State’s Tuesday night event celebrating Staten Island.
Yet the Republican nominee is a long shot to beat de Blasio, thanks to a huge voter registration advantage for Democrats. While the incumbent faced pay-to-play allegations, prosecutors ultimately declined to bring charges. Additionally, the mayor has enjoyed record low crime, improvements in student test scores and a successful rollout of his signature universal prekindergarten program.
Malliotakis said that if she were elected mayor, she would address homelessness by focusing on the mentally ill, including investing in supportive housing and capitalizing on Kendra’s Law, a state measure that mandates outpatient psychiatric treatment for those who are deemed to be a risk.
She also called for a conversion of the city’s aging and increasingly delayed subways to a “communication-based signal system” adopted in other major cities around the world.
“It’s about time Staten Island has a representative in Gracie Mansion,” she said, adding that the residents in the other outer boroughs have told her they also feel abandoned by de Blasio.
“What works in Manhattan doesn’t work on Staten Island,” Malliotakis said. “What works in Brooklyn doesn’t work in the Bronx. And I believe as a representative of the outer boroughs, that I understand that, and I believe that every community needs to have the ability to have a seat at the table, to talk about what they want, not what government wants to shove down our throats. That’s why I’ve challenged Mayor de Blasio to five debates, one in each borough.”